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Happy Thanksgiving! Have Some Pie!

This past week has been very exciting for my blog which won the Millesima Blog awards for the Vinification Practices Category. See the final announcement here.

It’s also one of my favorite holidays this week. The one single holiday of the year where you don’t have the added pressure to find the perfect gift or spend a ton of money on those gifts, but where you give thanks for what you already have. It’s a bit disconcerting at how successful the stores have been at taking over this holiday. I’m sure it is a frustrating concept for them to deal with. It’s a day where people reflect on their blessings and don’t think about what their next new purchase will be. It is simply enjoying life as it is and I really appreciate that. One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is getting together with family and baking for a group of people. One of my specialties is pumpkin pie so I thought I would share the recipe with my readers.

Nova’s Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Puree:

Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Take one pumpkin and carve it into slices. Place the pumpkin on a cookie sheet and bake about 45 minutes until the flesh easily separates with a fork. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool for 30 minutes.

Once the pumpkin is cool scoop out the flesh into a food processor and blend until smooth and fine.

If not being used immediately, the pumpkin can be frozen in freezer bags in 1 ½ cup divisions for multiple recipies such a soup and pumpkin bread as well as pie.

Pumpkin Pie:

1 ¼ cup Pumpkin Puree

¾ cup Sugar

½ tsp Salt

¼ tsp Ginger

1 tsp Cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp Allspice

1 tsp All purpose flour

2 eggs beaten

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk

½ tsp Vanilla

(If using canned pumpkin add 2 tbs water)

Mix together Pumpkin, salt, spices, and flour and mix well. Then add the 2 eggs beaten. Finally add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Pour into unbaked pie crust and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until the entire center of the pie raises up and does not jiggle when shaken. Let it cool and refrigerate. Serve cold with fresh whipped cream.


Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Vintage 2014: Veraison

While we enjoyed a much needed vacation something was happening here in Napa. The very start of Veraison came about while we were gone. We also had some fire issues in the Northeastern part of the county so I’m hoping we don’t see any smoke taint in the reds this year like we did in Sonoma in 2008. This picture was taken the day we came back on July 3rd and is the table grape in my back yard a full 2.5 weeks early!


I knew I needed to get out and see what was happening in the vineyards and sure enough, I saw the flowing picture walking into the winery last Monday.



That is Cabernet Sauvignon at To Kalon. Granted that these are young vines planted in in 2011 so they are ahead of the average vine this year, but the general progression is moving very rapidly. Pinot Noir in Carneros is moving right along as well with
some blocks well through 50% Veraison. Right now it looks like mid August for the start of harvest. It’s coming on fast!

Unfulfilled Post Ideas from the Past Three Weeks!

Normally I don’t write many posts due to having no inspired thing to write about. The past few weeks I have had a TON of ideas but no time to write. Instead, I have decided to put some of them down to a single post and if anyone is very interested in one of them I’ll fill that thought out.

1) Harvest Update- we are about 10-18 days away from bloom! This is incredibly early and the weather over the next three weeks will go very far towards setting the tone of this harvest. Minimal frost to date as well for such a early harvest so things are going well so far.

2) Why is it not possible to find a family friendly restaurant with good food? Do foodie parents of young children not need good food outside of Napa? Maybe that makes me a snob but a recent weekend vacation to Monterrey, CA really opened my eyes to how spoiled we are here. Our favorite (pre-child) restaurant which shall remain nameless for this post had a sign posted outside. “No strollers, no small children!” Really? I’m tempted to never go back even after my son is grown just because we felt so discriminated against. We settled for a very kid friendly restaurant that used too much salt and baked fish in white wine sauce included a carton of cream and a stick (at least) of butter completely negating my healthy choice of the fish in the first place. The second night we were directed by the hotel concierge to another restaurant where the serving of lasagna I ordered could have easily fed a small village. Can some chef with kids do something about this travesty???

3) Almost 6 weeks to go until my MW exam. I’m busily tweaking my answer style, doing timed tastings and re writing answers from previous exams. I look back over the past 4 exams I’ve sat and I can almost tell where I went wrong on some of the wines. I remember how they tasted to me and my thought process. I can’t believe I went Germany instead of Alsace on a set of three wines, two of which were so clearly Gewürztraminer and Riesling. Why didn’t I just say Chardonnay on the last wine on Paper 1 last year. It certainly tasted like Chardonnay but I talked myself out of it since I thought I had found a set of Chardonnays earlier in the exam. I hadn’t and ended up getting three wines wrong all because I over thought the exam. This year my plan is to not over think, don’t second guess, relax and show the examiners that I do, actually know this stuff! Wish me luck!